The key to note taking success lies with the proper tools you use. We all know note taking is an important tool for better productivity so we can get things done faster hence getting us to our end goal faster. Just a reminder, our end goal is to be able to focus now on getting a business started and begin earning money without us physically being there, which is essential to lifestyle design.
Before I decided to finally change how I do things, I always had those little post its everywhere, a whiteboard, a glass board and even a blackboard. I really had trouble organizing those so I migrated them to my PC which was then transformed to a clutterfest with little notes I made from note pad. I easily got distracted because of that.
Hopefully, you aren’t like that. If you are, then this post should help you choose note taking apps or softwares that will cure your note taking sickness.
Some reminders before I begin. There are dozens of good online note taking Web 2.0 sites out there, like SpringNote, Stikkit, and Notefish but I just chose some of what I think will distract you less and doesn’t always need you to be online often.
Here goes, in no particular order!
Since people in the world are primarily Windows users, it’s only fair that I put this on this list first. When I was still on a PC sometime before, this was something I leaned on a lot. It keeps my notes in a single place and you can search for stuff instantly. Downside? It’s 20 bucks for the full version. (Which is totally worth it!)
I have mentioned this before to be one of my Top 10 Productivity Tools. This has been a staple in my online work ever since it came out. I just love that I can browse it offline and online with great speed. It’s also cross platform so you can use it on your iPhone, PC or Mac.
3. Google Notebook or Zoho Notes
These two are pretty much the same. They store your notes and stuff online plus you get to download an plugin extension (as shown on the picture above) which lets you focus on what you are doing by not intruding your workflow. Be sure to login to your Google account first.
4. Tomboy or WikiPad
Again, these two are pretty much the same because they both act like a Wiki where you can link notes to each other so you can set the relationship of each note. I prefer Tomboy because it’s prettier
5. Stickies For Mac Or Stickies For Windows
When I started on the Mac, I went with the default Stickies software for my notes. It gave me a lot of freedom but the downside was it brought me back to my “cluttery” ways. If you need instant note taking and a fix of digital Post Its, then this is great. You can also put stickies on the dashboard. I included a link for Stickies for Windows for the PC users out there. BTW, here are 10 useful tips for Stickies
No other app out there on the Mac can beat this. It just works. I am not sure if there is a Windows counterpart for this so please tell me if there is. Sidenote works like a drawer for notes. It pops out when you need it and it auto save’s it for you. You can make multiple notes and access them with a drop down box. You have to use it to appreciate it.
7. Text File + Quicksilver + Geek Tool
Sadly, this is Mac only. There might be a workaround for Windows so please post it here if you know so other readers can check it out. I use the Text editor Text Wrangler. You can choose from loads of other text editors here or just use iWork’s Pages.
With a blank text created and properly named, I can use Quicksilver to Append text directly to the text file without opening it and without having to open another window. Pretty cool right? What I do is I have a “Do This Now” list with my Batched Tasks or Daily Goals in it.
So where does Geek Tool come in? Geek Tool shows my “Do This Now” list on my desktop where it is always visible, which forces me to do it! Recently, I just found out on Zen Habits that Leo Babauta also uses almost the same setup, if not better. If you want a better explanation on how to do it, head on over to his wonderful blog and check it out or you can also comment here so I could help you out.
“Wait, where is Microsoft’s ultimate note taking software? ONE NOTE!”
I hate Microsoft’s One Note. I don’t know about you but it tries to do too many things and sucks at them, the interface is too rough on the edges and it’s pretty unreliable for a hefty price tag.
In conclusion, please, you do not need to use all of these at the same time. You should only choose 1 or even maybe 2 but do not overdo it. This was meant to organize you and not to make things worse. Personally, I now use number 6 and 7 together. It just makes things simpler. If you were wondering where I put my To do List, I use Things for that, where it puts all To-Dos together so I can eventually organize them and set dates on when I should do them.
Oh yeah, it’s not actually just 7 apps on this list!
P.S. Bonus Tip For PC Users: Here is a post on MakeUseOf.com about making Notes from notepad into Stickies.
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